Bottlenecks along the coronavirus vaccine logistics supply chain : Planet Money Inventing a vaccine for COVID-19 was hard, but getting billions of doses to billions of people is going to be even harder. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Before The Shot In The Arm

Before The Shot In The Arm

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images
Laboratory technicians handles vials as part of filling and packaging tests for the large-scale production and supply of the University of Oxfords COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222
Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

There is finally, finally some light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel: pharmaceutical companies have produced three promising coronavirus vaccines. And it's estimated that we'll need about 12 billion doses, globally, to protect everyone from the virus.

Coming up with a miracle vaccine in record time was hard. Making it in quantities never seen before will be harder. But the logistics.... There are so many things that have to happen before the shot that protects you from coronavirus gets into your arm.

Today on the show, we bring you the journey of a vaccine from a factory, and into the arms of billions of people. It involves sand. Minerals that primarily come from just one country. Ice that doesn't melt. And... planes. Lots of planes. So many planes.

Music: "Flute Samba" and "Larks at Sunrise."

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts and NPR One.

We're all going to have to wait for the coronavirus vaccine. But if you enjoyed this and other episodes from Planet Money, please support us now!